What appear to be single flowers among plants in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae)are actually heads containing often dozens to hundreds of separate small flowers. Each flower develops into a 1-seeded fruit, and in most species the top of the seed develops a scaley or feathery tuft called pappus, which aids the dispersal of seeds by wind. Pappus varies greatly in form and often helps in distinguishing genera and species of Asteraceae. Here’s a scanning electron micrograph of some typical pappus… the species of which I have, unfortunately, forgotten.

Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
Copyright © 2011 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.


About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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